Wonderland of Crabs
Jennifer Tong Photos provided by the
Peikuan Crabs Museum
often talk about the fascination of
the beautiful North East Coast of Taiwan.
In particular, they mention the seascape
of the East China Sea. As you drive
south along this rich-in-rock-formation
coastal highway, there is another treasure
trove beckoning not too far away. "Peikuan",
a little township, the first stop on
the North Coastal Highway in I-Lan
county, and it is still not well known
to foreign visitors.
Peikuan sits at an optimal location in the
vicinity of the East China Sea and the Pacific
Ocean. Its offshore neighbor is "Turtle-Mountain" islet.
Each year the kuloshio (black tide) from
the Pacific brings thousands of oceanic life
creatures passing by Peikuan and Turtle Mountain
islet. The live hotsprings by the islet is
a wonderful natural cradle for fish and crabs.
In Peikuan, one can find more than 200 indigenous
species of crabs. Remarkably, that is almost
one-fifth all crab species in the world.
Thus, in 1999, the Peikuan Crabs Museum was
built to showcase Taiwan's unique natural
This 250-ping museum is the only one in the
world dedicated to the crab, and both oceanographers
and school children along with their parents
swarm in during the weekends and holidays.
Its rich collection surprises every visitor,
from the petite crabs inhabiting high elevation
mountain areas to the heat-resistant crabs
that survive 60 degree Celsius temperature
deep in the ocean.
People walk into this crab world to understanding
how crabs live, breed and spawn. It makes
one chuckle to discover that a female crab
rejects her spouse with two crossed legs
on her chest, signaling that she is in bad
mood. It's touching, too, to see a male crab
hug his woman so desperately while fleeing
from a predator. And, be aware, don't be
deceived by the beautiful tiny chrysanthemum
crab. Her tender look will mislead you as
a few grams of her poisonous body can put
1,000 people to death.
In total, the museum presents some 2,000
different live crabs and specimens and, from
time to time, many international exchange
studies are held at the museum. It's a unique
museum in Taiwan and the crab's world gives
our visitors an amusing stopover while passing
along the North Coastal Beach Highway.
The museum opens daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
The only break is the day before Chinese
New year. So, please, don't miss out on such
an interesting place. I assure you that a
wonderful experience that will add an educational
perspective to your trip to the beach and
bring you much closer to Mother Nature.